Posts Tagged ‘bibravepro’

Aerodaks

Disclaimer: I received a a pair of Aerodaks running briefs to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

When I got home today from a long, rainy run – I realized that the only part of me that wasn’t completely drenched was my underwear. And that, my friends, is just one reason why Aerodaks is a new favourite piece of running gear!

But, you may be wondering, What is Aerodaks? I’m glad you asked!

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North County Wine Run

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the North County Wine Run as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Back in April, I registered for the North County Wine Run and agreed to travel down to Battle Ground, WA with fellow BibRavePro, Brie. This is the story of our Washington Road Trip!

If you want an ‘intro’ to the race, be sure to read my post on 5 Reasons to Run the North County Wine Run. I won’t review them point-by-point, but suffice it to say that the run lived up to expectations!

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Original BUFF®

Disclaimer: I received an Original BUFF® to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Since receiving my first BUFF® product, I’ve been a huge fan. I’ve done a couple of reviews before:

When I got the opportunity to test the Original BUFF® – and to select my own design – I was thrilled! Honestly, you can’t have too many BUFF® products! I chose the pattern called MOTION because I felt the colour palette would go well with my own!

Original BUFF®

We’ve learned that BUFF® products are extremely versatile, but of course I have my favourite styles and uses, and pretty much stick with them. But since the packaging promotes “more than 12+ ways to wear”, I thought I’d give it a go and try them out!

Original BUFF®

Here are some of the ways to wear the Original BUFF® – and my perspective on them!

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Disclaimer: I received a free entry to North County Wine Run as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

 North County Wine Run

Two months from today, I’ll be running my 7th half marathon of 2016 – the North County Wine Run in Battle Ground, Washington. I’m very excited about this race for a number of reasons…but before I get into that, let me share a few of the important details of the race:

What? Both a half marathon and – new in 2016 – a 3-person relay option
When?
 Saturday, September 24, 2016 starting at 8:00am
Where? Battle Ground, Clark County – the south-west corner of Washington State, not far from the Oregon border

North County Wine Run

How much? $85.00 for the half marathon (increasing to $90.00 on August 25); $171.00 for the relay (increasing to $180.00 on August 25) – read on for a discount!

OK, now that we’ve got that covered, here they are…

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UV Half BUFF

Disclaimer: I received a UV Half BUFF® to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Anyone who reads my blog regularly knows that I’m a huge fan of BUFF® products. You can revisit my previous reviews here:

But today I’m talking about the UV Half BUFF® – half the length of the Original BUFF® but no less awesome!

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Disclaimer: I received a pair of xx2i Bermuda lifestyle sunglasses to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

A few months ago, I had the opportunity to test and review the xx2i USA1 Pro Racing Sunglasses, and have worn them anytime I’ve run/raced since I got them. Understandably, I was thrilled to receive my new pair of xx2i Bermuda1 lifestyle sunglasses. Given that these are not meant for running, it seemed like a great complement to the USA1 pair, which don’t necessarily go with street wear.

Spring is not the optimal time of year to test a pair of sunglasses in the Pacific Northwest. My new shades arrived, but we didn’t actually see a hint of sun for weeks afterward. And then, finally, the sun came out!

Like the Pro Racing glasses, these ones came in a sturdy case, along with a cloth bag that also serves as a handy lens cleaner.

xx2i Bermuda Sunglasses

My first reaction to these sunglasses is that they looked really BIG. I tried them on a couple of times at home, and was concerned that they didn’t really fit my face.  The colour and design also made me a bit skeptical – is tortoiseshell really my thing?

First sunny day, and the glasses went on. I felt a bit self-conscious walking down the street, wondering if everyone was staring at the guy with the ginormous Audrey Hepburn-esque Hollywood sunglasses. In retrospect, it seems pretty likely that they weren’t. I asked opinions of multiple people, with reactions varying from lukewarm to positive. But as I got used to the feel of them, the concern about what others might think continued to wane. And then my stylist friend gave me a solid thumbs up, telling me that the sunglasses are absolutely fashionable. I’m sold!

xx2i Bermuda Sunglasses

What I have come to love about these sunglasses is the lenses. They’re kind of a reflective blue on the front, but wearing them is a real treat. You get a slight orange-tinted view of the world – and, while cutting the UV and glare of the sun, it actually makes things brighter and clearer. I’m kind of used to my cheap pair, which basically just darken everything. The xx2i are a vast improvement!

xx2i Bermuda Sunglasses

If I had one complaint, it’s that the arms don’t quite lay flat when folded, making them a tad bulky when not being worn. This is a minor design issue in my opinion, and certainly not a deal-breaker.

The clouds and rain rolled in again, so I’ve still not had much occasion to wear the Bermuda1’s – but with summer just around the corner, these sunglasses are going to be a staple in my wardrobe!

Another awesome thing – all xx2i sunglasses come with a 365-day replacement guarantee! Who could ask for a better deal?

Visit the xx2i website and make a worthwhile investment! You can use the discount code XX2iRocks for 50% off, which is absolutely amazing. The Bermuda1 is so new that it might not yet be available online – but will be very soon!!

Platte River Half Marathon

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Platte River Half Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

When the opportunity to run the Platte River Half Marathon caught my attention, it didn’t take long for me to reach out to my good friend Annmary and ask if she and her family were open to receiving guests in their home in Colorado. Thankfully, they were! We booked flights, scheduled time off work, and waited in anticipation. That was October.

As race weekend approached, I got nervous. What would it be like running at altitude? Would I pass out on the course? The answers to these questions…coming up!

Friday – Acclimatizing

Pre-dawn alarm, train to the airport, one of the smoothest security and immigration checks I’ve ever experienced, and we were in the air before 8am. Three hours later, we landed in Denver, a mile above sea level, and our long weekend had begun! We grabbed our rental car and arrived at Annmary’s place just in time for lunch. We hadn’t seen each other since we lived in Japan – could it be 15 years already? But it was like no time had passed and we were welcomed warmly into the family.

The girls – Meghan and Becca – arrived home from school and decided to join me on my shakeout run. Armed with a bottle of water (I never carry water, but Annmary cautioned me on the only way to prevent altitude sickness) and we were out the door. Half a mile and a loop of the block later, I dropped the girls off at the house and ventured out on my own.

Platte River Half Marathon Platte River Half Marathon

The Cherry Creek Spillway is an urban nature trail – I saw prairie dogs, birds, rabbits and deer along the 2 kilometre route, and then extended my run to incorporate the West Tollgate Creek Trail. Ended up going a bit further than planned – 11km. Although I drank my entire bottle of water, I had a splitting headache. I blame the elevation (averaging about 1,700 metres or 5,500 feet).

Platte River Half Marathon Platte River Half Marathon

Slept early, after taking a Tylenol.

Saturday – Bib Pickup

Not too early on Saturday, we headed off to Runners Roost (a local Colorado store) to pick up my race packet. In the downstairs community room, I got my bib, an awesome long-sleeved race shirt, and samples from race sponsors nuun and Honey Stinger. It was quick and efficient, and the volunteers were friendly and helpful.

Platte River Half Marathon Platte River Half Marathon

My only regret: I neglected to stock up on my go-to fuel – PowerGel Double Latte flavour – and despite visiting several stores, no one had it. I bought ‘Orange Dream’ instead. Lesson learned.

The remainder of the afternoon was spent sightseeing in downtown Denver. I probably walked too far, but we had a great time with the family!

Platte River Half Marathon Platte River Half Marathon Platte River Half Marathon Platte River Half Marathon Platte River Half Marathon

Another relatively early night, since morning would come early!

Platte River Half Marathon

Sunday – Race Day

The Platte River Half starts in Littleton, a small city south of Denver. It took us about 30 minutes to drive, accompanied by Annmary, Meghan, and my better half. After a quick porta-potty visit, I glimpsed a flash of orange and dashed over to meet fellow BibRavePro, Katherine (@MagicofRunning) – moments later, we were joined by Abbie (@AbbieMood). Thank goodness for BibRave orange! This was my first official BibRavePro race, and I was thrilled to represent with these two amazing women! We hugged, wished each other well, and headed towards the start line.

Platte River Half Marathon Platte River Half Marathon

A few announcements were happening, and despite being near the front I couldn’t hear a word – some sound system issues? And all of a sudden the countdown was on, and we surged forward into the streets of Littleton. It’s a cute, historic town – we did a loop and ended up back where we started before turning west down a small path (Little’s Creek Trail) until we reached the Platte River.

Platte River Half Marathon Platte River Half Marathon

For the next 10km, we followed the windy river route, crossing several bridges (5, by my count) before detouring into an industrial area as we got closer to the city.

Platte River Half Marathon

Highlight! The race includes a 3-leg relay – two 5-mile legs, and a final 3-mile leg. As we approached mile 5, a boy of about 6 or 7 was pushing towards the exchange point with his dad. It was obvious he was running out of steam, but a whole bunch of runners started encouraging and cheering him on, and he sprinted towards the timing mat to pass the baton to his older brother. Great inspiration!

The aid stations – and I took advantage of every one of them – were well stocked with water and nuun, and the volunteers were great. I got a chuckle out of how many pronunciations of ‘nuun’ I heard…from ‘noon’ to ‘nun’, and every diphthong in between. But it was excellent hydration no matter how you say it!

We veered back towards the river, now running alongside the highway as we crossed another bridge. The finish line couldn’t be too far away. I resisted the urge to look at my watch, and spent a significant amount of time converting miles to kilometres and back again.

Platte River Half Marathon

One more right turn, we passed under the highway – and then Mount Everest was looming in front of us. OK, it was actually just the 8th Ave Viaduct, but after running a gentle downhill slope for the past 12 miles, it looked insurmountable. It wasn’t, of course, but once I reached the top the bridge itself seemed to go on forever. I started encouraging myself – I think I was speaking aloud: “You’ve got this. Don’t give up. Almost there.”

Down the far side, a quick left, and the finish line was just a block away! I picked up the pace, and pushed myself with a finally burst of energy. Platte River Half Marathon complete!

Platte River Half Marathon Platte River Half Marathon

Everyone was there to welcome me, and accompany me to the post-race festival. In addition to a nifty mason jar mug, there were lots of freebies and samples. Best of all, I got not one but two veggie burgers from the Buckhorn Exchange, and a beer from Breckinridge Brewery! First sip of beer, and Katherine was there for a cheers and a race debrief!

Platte River Half Marathon Platte River Half Marathon

Back to Littleton to pick up the car – and the rest of the day relaxing with the family!

Monday – Hiking

Making as much as we could out of this trip, we took an extra day to enjoy Colorado. Annmary took the day off, and we headed south towards Colorado Springs. Not too far out of town, however, we caught sight of some beautiful landscapes, and pulled off into Castlewood Canyon State Park. We intended to stay briefly, but ended up delighted by the scenery and hiking for nearly two hours. Exhausting, but totally worth it.

Platte River Half Marathon Platte River Half Marathon

Platte River Half Marathon Platte River Half Marathon

We finally reached the remarkable geological phenomena called Garden of the Gods. Striking red rock formations protruding from the ground – simply amazing! It was a bit foggy, and we were pretty worn out – so we just drove around and snapped a few photos before heading back to Denver.

Platte River Half Marathon Platte River Half Marathon

Hugs and farewells – and we headed to the airport. Home again after a successful race weekend!

Platte River Half Marathon – Quick Review

Social Media: I engaged very regularly with Platte River Half on Twitter, and was disappointed that I never got a response. In fact, their most recent Tweet (as of race day) was from St. Patrick’s Day. Their Facebook page was kept pretty much up-to-date, however, and they provided few (but enough) emails.

Packet Pickup: Quick and straightforward with some sponsor samples available to try out!

T-Shirt/Swag: Beautiful long-sleeved technical shirt in just the right size.

Course: Scenic views of the river for the majority of the route, and mostly downhill. The foray into some industrial areas was nothing special. The viaduct uphill in the final mile was a killer. The altitude was a challenge, but despite the ‘thin air’ I was happy with my results.

Post-Race/Medal: Excellent after party include free burgers and beer for runners, and a variety of sponsors sampling their wares. Big, beautiful medal – the largest so far in my collection! Plus a Breckinridge Brewery mason jar mug branded for the race!

Organization: With the exception of disengaged social media, the race itself was extremely well-organized. Volunteers were plentiful and friendly, aid stations were well-stocked, and everyone had a great time.

Would I run it again? Colorado is a beautiful place and I’d love to visit in the future. Given the time and opportunity, I would definitely do another Platte River Half!

Final Results

Chip Time: 1:53:15
Average Pace: 8:39 min/mile
Place Overall: 190/540
Age Category Place: 35/75
*Also, from the results page, it looks like I might have been the only runner from Canada!

Platte River Half Marathon

Have you ever run a race at altitude? Did you find it more challenging?

WeeklyWrap

And after a bit of a hiatus, happy to link up again with HoHo Runs and MissSippiPiddlin for their Weekly Wrap!